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Belleville city workers prepare for possible strike, lockout: union

The union representing Belleville city workers have filed a no-board report, which means they could strike or be locked out within two weeks. Global Kingston

The City of Belleville could be facing a strike by municipal workers later this month.

Contract talks have hit a roadblock between the city and CUPE Local 907, which represents over 200 municipal workers.

These include parks and rec staff, bylaw officers, snowplow drivers and building inspectors.

Read more: Eastern Ontario health team employees fear lockout: union

A statement from CUPE says the union and management had agreed to a number of issues in bargaining, but the union says the city recently removed them from the table.

The union did not specify what those items were, nor did it want to comment further due to ongoing negotiations.

“It really feels like we’ve had the rug pulled out from under us,” said Marc Goulet, president of CUPE Local 907 and frontline worker with the recreation, culture and community services department.

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“This is not the situation we thought we’d be in at this stage.”

Click to play video: 'Canada Line workers in legal strike position as talks continue' Canada Line workers in legal strike position as talks continue
Canada Line workers in legal strike position as talks continue – Feb 1, 2021

The move led to the union filing for a no-board report, which allows them to legally strike or be locked out as early as Feb. 22.

In a statement sent Tuesday, Mayor Mitch Panciuk said the city will be trying to avoid strikes or lockdowns, but it will be prepared for those realities.

“We value and appreciate the women and men who work for the city as well as the taxpayers who ultimately fund those salaries and benefits,” he said.

Panciuk said he understands the pandemic has been tough for municipal employees, local businesses and residents as well.

“Our CUPE Local 907 represents both inside and outside workers. We want a new collective agreement that is financially sustainable and recognizes the challenges we face as a city,” he said.

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The two parties are scheduled to meet with a provincially appointed mediator on Feb. 18 to attempt to reach an agreement.

— With files from Global News’ Alexandra Mazur

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